February 22, 2024

Shopping online may be a trend for the convenience it offers but the logistics involved in your purchase could be hurting the environment.
In this year’s celebration of Consumer Welfare Month, the Department of Trade and Industry is advocating sustainable consumerism in view of the booming e-commerce industry.
Data from the DTI Consumer Policy and Advocacy Bureau (CPAB) shows the exponential growth of e-commerce in the Philippines following the declaration of Covid-19 pandemic, over two years ago.
Before the pandemic, there were 500,000 registered e-commerce businesses in the country. In 2021, this ballooned to two million and increasing.
The Philippines is the fastest growing market in Southeast Asia, according to the CPAB.
In terms of revenue, e-commerce’s pre-pandemic contribution to the country’s gross domestic product was P599 billion compared to P1.1 trillion in 2021, exceeding the government’s target of P850B.
DTI Baguio-Benguet Director Samuel Gallardo said e-commerce has an upside and downside.
One of the downsides or challenges of e-commerce is its impact on the environment.
Gallardo said because of the convenience of online shopping, consumers resort to buying on impulse but end up not using the item bought.
“Sometimes consumers buy those that are not really needed. Hindi na nadi-discern na hindi naman talaga kailangan,” Gallardo said, stressing that this habit can impact on the worldwide supply chain resulting in wastage not just of money but also of resources.
CPAB said e-commerce consumes energy, requires logistics with environment consequences, and produces additional packaging waste. Product returns and free return policies add to the carbon footprint of products, the CPAB added.
Gallardo said the speed by which products are delivered to a consumer’s doorstep and the use of packaging materials are actually hurting the environment.
“Kapag nagkamali sa delivery, the product ordered becomes waste because it is not being used,” Gallardo said, stressing that even as e-commerce is now part of the ecosystem of businesses, the public should be taught about sustainable consumerism.
“E-commerce is here to stay. So let us prepare consumers and those in the retail side of e-commerce to be more responsible,” Gallardo said.
Through the initiative called the 7Rs – rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, repair, and replace, the DTI along with the departments of Education, Health, Environment, and Natural Resources, Agriculture, Health, Energy, DTI-National Consumer Affairs Council, and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas have been advocating sustainable consumption by informing and empowering consumers about responsible consumption and consumer protection. – Rimaliza A. Opiña